The Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) has advised the Government to reduce the minimum salary for individuals moving to the UK to £25,600 in order to meet job shortages.
Presently, skilled migrants from outside the EU need a job offer with a minimum salary of £30,000 before qualifying for a visa.
The British Beer & Pub Association (BBPA) and UKHospitality (UKH) said reducing this threshold would be a benefit to pub employers but want to see more consideration of the sector’s needs.
They also welcomed a proposal for bringing temporary workers to the UK but urged for a route that would ensure these workers stay in the country to limit staff turnover figures.
The hospitality sector has four vacancies per 100 jobs, in comparison to a figure of 2.6 for the wider economy.
BBPA chief executive Emma McClarkin said despite the recommendation to reduce the minimum salary requirement by £4,000, the proposed threshold would “still present significant challenges for pubs”.
BBPA welcomed the proposal for temporary worker routes and will write to the MAC calling for a hospitality-based scheme.
McClarkin added: “A new immigration system must work for pubs. Some 85% of pubs are SMEs and the new system must be simple for them to use, particularly the sponsorship process.”
UKH chief executive Kate Nicholls said the low-skilled temporary visa route into work could be feasible because the majority of migrants in hospitality do not work in highly paid roles.
She added: “MAC’s proposal that Government looks again at how this would work in practice is welcome.
“A continuing route for these incredibly valuable workers is paramount, particularly as hospitality has had the highest proportionate number of vacancies for the past 18 years.
“A helpful step forward would be to extend the Youth Mobility Scheme to EU countries and make this a vital part of future trade deals with other countries, thereby providing another route for young workers into the sector.”
Meaning different things
MAC’s report – A Points-Based System and Salary Thresholds for Immigration – makes recommendations on immigration policy following the end of freedom of movement for EU nationals after Brexit.
The Conservative Government proposed a points-based system that would control immigration, pointing to the “Australian-style”. However, the chair of the advisory committee Alan Manning dismissed this wording as “meaning different things to different people”.
The BBPA has previously said it is important an effective policy is in place on day one and reiterated its concerns that such reforms would be implemented in time.